Updated: Jan 20
At Thistles and Coos, we strive to provide relevant information to help you find affordable and accessible travel ideas. We love the idea of taking our experiences and sharing them with you in the hope that you may find a tidbit that makes your travels easier as well as fun and exciting.
What you are going to read next is one of our personal favorites: Let us introduce you to Molly Gallivans in Kenmare, Ireland. A great place to start is first to describe this lovely cottage that embodies the spirit of the Irish people and gives you an almost indescribable ambiance of being instantly home.
With that said, we are going to try to put into words what you will feel when you visit this treasure of the emerald isle.
We have said many times that the rain in Ireland is completely different than rain in Nashville, Tennessee. The misty, looming and grey skies of Ireland add a certain feel that makes you want to slip inside a local cafe for an Irish coffee and savor the warmth of a hearty homemade soup.
For me, the Irish rain is about anticipation…of the waiting hearth, laughter, and blessings upon us…as only the Irish can!!
It is a feeling that touches and permeates your soul, and you don’t ever want to leave. The candles on the table flick sparkles of light on the stone walls that harken you back to the time when Molly Gallivans was roaming the rooms.
You half expect her to sit down and welcome all the weary travelers with a cup of coffee, a story or two, and oceans of hospitality. You are truly swept away by this magical place.
I feel the pressing need to pause here and say that I have many more words to describe Molly Gallivans, but it is truly one of those “seeing is believing” places. There is a presence and power here that I cannot put into the right words.
Upon entering through the doors you felt welcome, warm, and cared for. You may be asking yourself how we came upon this treasure? What were the people, places, and food like?
Well, we got you covered. So, I invite you to follow with us as we walk with Molly. We hope Molly’s spirit inspires you to fully embrace Ireland.
Before we travel and finally decide on a place to visit, we begin our research on where we want to go and what sightseeing we want to take in. Of course we do some typical “touristy” type attractions, however, we always try to find those hidden gems.
This is what happened when we discovered Molly Gallivans Cottage and Traditional Farm.
Our first stop was Kenmare. Near Kenmare was Moll’s Gap, or in Irish Céim an Daimh, a mountain pass on the Ring of Kerry, which was on our list of possible places to visit, but we were not 100% committed. However, we did have Molly Gallivans on our list of possible places to visit.
Up early - caffeinated - satiated from our traditional Irish breakfast… we are out the door to see where the road will take us. Our first stop is Molly Gallivans. We are suckers for quaint cafes and locally made goods. From our research, Molly Gallivans offered both. #adventure
According to the current owner of the shop, Molly Gallivans has a fascinating history:
Widowed with seven small children, Molly Gallivan had to call on all her resourcefulness to keep body and soul together.
She supplemented her meagre income from her small mountain farm by opening a “Sibheen” (illegal pub). Here she sold her own home made “Poitín” (whiskey) locally known as “Molly’s Mountain Dew”.
Molly Gallivan’s soon became a welcome stop for weary travellers, to enjoy some of Molly’s home baking and teas.
Molly eventually set up her own cottage industry selling hand spun woollens, Aran sweaters and local crafts. Local farmers supplied wool for her industry and neighbouring women helped with the spinning and knitting.
Purchased in 1999 by the current owners, Molly Gallivans has been restored to its original cottage and traditional farm.
After a short drive from our Bed-n-Breakfast in Kenmare, we arrive at Molly Gallivans. First thing we notice is a large, carved and wooden Druid statue in the car park.
According to their website:
The Druid looks across the valley to the highest peak “Barra-Bui”, where a Cairn on the summit marks the resting- place of an ancient Chieftain.
This imposing figure represents the first settlers in the Sheen Valley more than 6000 years ago.
Being the ultimate tourist, a picture must be taken with the Druid… enter the yogi to do a headstand with the Druid. #yogaeveryday
Now we are off to the Cottage to shop and grab a cup of coffee to stave off the chill from the rain.
First, learn about Molly Gallivans and her survival story.
Children can visit the petting zoo
Partake in old fashioned storytelling by the fire
Historic walks in and around the Cottage are aplenty (this is equivalent to a guided tour)
Shopping here is amazing! We like to support local artists and were thrilled to find most of the products were locally made. We would have maxed out our shopping budget if we had more space in our backpacks. #damnbackpack
The Aran sweaters, pottery and sheepskin rugs were some of our local favorites.
There is something about shopping which makes you hungry or maybe we just like the ambience of Molly’s...probably both. We were not in any hurry to get back in the car, so we finally sat down for that cup of coffee and something to eat.
Our server, PJ, is a delight; his Cork accent is exactly what you might imagine an Irish accent to sound like. The three of us became fast friends and he suggested an Irish coffee to “warm our bones.” He also suggested ordering the homemade soup that was absolutely delicious. The bread that accompanied our soup was an Irish soda bread. #yummy
Let us digress for just a moment and compliment PJ and how taken we were with him. Professional, insightful and flirty … just enough to absolutely entertain us. He gave us sound advice on why to avoid the Ring of Kerry and to drive the Healy Pass instead.
Food- amazing! Shopping- loved! Customer service - friendly, authentic and not hurried.
This place is a must visit. If you are like us, we have lists of places we want to visit. You need to add Molly Gallivans to your list. It is a scenic drive and they have a ton of activities to keep all ages entertained.